Trump To Mitch McConnell, Senate Leader: 'Go Nuclear' On Supreme Court Nomination Seeking quick approval of his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, Trump wants Mitch McConnell to pull out all the stops if necessary.
NPR logo President Trump To Senate Leader: 'Go Nuclear' To Confirm Gorsuch

President Trump To Senate Leader: 'Go Nuclear' To Confirm Gorsuch

President Trump made clear on Wednesday that he would like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to change the chamber's rules if necessary to confirm his Supreme Court nominee. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump made clear on Wednesday that he would like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to change the chamber's rules if necessary to confirm his Supreme Court nominee.

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump has two words of advice for Mitch McConnell when it comes to confirming Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch: "Go nuclear."

Trump was referring to the so-called nuclear option, whereby the Senate leader would change the chamber's rules to prevent Democrats from filibustering the nominee.

The president told reporters at the start of a White House meeting with conservative activists who support the nomination that Gorsuch "will be a great justice." He said it would be "very dishonest" for Senate Democrats, who previously backed Gorsuch when he was nominated to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals, to oppose him now for the Supreme Court.

McConnell has previously stated that the decision whether to eliminate the filibuster is his and not the president's decision and has indicated a reluctance to end the filibuster's use unless absolutely necessary.

To break a filibuster requires 60 votes, and the Republicans hold 52, meaning eight Democrats would also need to vote to end debate.

"If we end up with that gridlock" in the Senate, Trump said, he would tell McConnell, "If you can, Mitch, go nuclear."